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“Welfare ghettos” and the “broken society”: territorial stigmatisation in the contemporary UK

Hancock, Lynn and Mooney, Gerry (2012). “Welfare ghettos” and the “broken society”: territorial stigmatisation in the contemporary UK. Housing, Theory and Society, 30(1) pp. 46–64.

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The idea of a ‘broken society’ is advanced by Conservative politicians in the UK as emblematic of social and moral decay. With many echoes of long-standing claims of societal and moral breakdown, the narrative centres on ‘irresponsibility’ and ‘disorderly’ behaviours in disadvantaged working class communities and asserts that welfare dependency is the underlying condition which produces ‘social breakdown’. Social housing estates and the populations therein, in particular, are represented as problematic and vulnerable on a number of different levels, especially in the frequently interlinked notion of ‘welfare ghetto’. In this paper we adopt an interdisciplinary approach, utilising Loïc Wacquant’s recent work on ‘territorial stigmatisation’ and his thesis on the ‘ghetto’, to critique these narratives; and we explore the work these notions perform to legitimise increasingly pervasive state interventions to regulate and control working class lives and communities. The classed assumptions underpinning these discourses are revealed in this context.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2013 IBF, The Institute for Housing and Urban Research
ISSN: 1651-2278
Keywords: class; stigmatisation; marginalisation; ‘broken society’; ghetto; social housing
Academic Unit/Department: Social Sciences > Social Policy and Criminology
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)
OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 33385
Depositing User: Gerry Mooney
Date Deposited: 02 May 2012 12:23
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2013 09:19
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